Yesterday I took part in a rather interesting event.
I was asked to participate in this event, along with 5 other artists, at Aitken Hill Conference Centre, working with 60 corporate clients from Telstra Super Fund. The event was organised by Lord Ivy.
The day involved setting up a room with 60 easels, each with a blank canvas, a palette, water, brushes, and 4 tubes of acrylic paint (blue, yellow, red and white).Only the organisers, (corporate), and the artists knew what was taking place, the other 50+ corporate people had absolutely no idea what their special 'activity' was going to be.
It was our job to encourage them to think outside the square and motivate them to paint for around 2.5 hours without touching their work at all in any way.
I admit I was a little sceptical about the whole thing prior to doing it, as were the group of corporates that appeared in a herd from over the hill we were situated at the base of. As they read the sign that explained briefly what was about to take place there was a lot of head and eye rolling and other displays of negative body language, along with some cynical mutterings.
I then saw it as a challenge and was inspired to inspire.
Despite one or two very negative and cynical attitudes once we were up and running, I actually quite enjoyed the experience much more than I thought I would. I once pondered studying psychology, particularly in relation to art,(or so called 'art therapy'), and the exercise yesterday reminded me of why.
I was very fortunate to have some really great and very co operative people amongst my allocated group - they certainly made the afternoon all the more enjoyable for me.
It was really interesting not only watching peoples initial reaction to the idea of painting, but how they approached the process. Some took a long time to make that first mark, not all necessarily through reluctance, some through fear. Others jumped straight into the exercise, one even opting to apply the paint with his fingers as opposed to the brushes that had been provided. I also managed to get a few of them applying paint with paper towel, paper bags and the other end of the brush. I certainly warmed to the ones who seemed to really embrace thinking outside the square.
Of course, I would rather have spent the day applying paint to my own canvas but it was quite gratifying and lovely when a number of them came up and thanked me for making their experience more enjoyable.